Elam And Babylon The Country Of The Sea And The Kassites

Up to five years ago our knowledge of Elam and of the part she played in

the ancient world was derived, in the main, from a few allusions to the

country to be found in the records of Babylonian and Assyrian kings. It

is true that a few inscriptions of the native rulers had been found in

Persia, but they belonged to the late periods of her history, and the

majority consisted of short dedicatory formulae and did not supply us
r /> with much historical information. But the excavations carried on since

then by M. de Morgan at Susa have revealed an entirely new chapter of

ancient Oriental history, and have thrown a flood of light upon the

position occupied by Elam among the early races of the East.

Lying to the north of the Persian Gulf and to the east of the Tigris,

and rising from the broad plains nearer the coast to the mountainous

districts within its borders on the east and north, Elam was one of the

nearest neighbours of Chaldaea. A few facts concerning her relations with

Babylonia during certain periods of her history have long been known,

and her struggles with the later kings of Assyria are known in some

detail; but for her history during the earliest periods we have had to

trust mainly to conjecture. That in the earlier as in the later periods

she should have been in constant antagonism with Babylonia might

legitimately be suspected, and it is not surprising that we should find

an echo of her early struggles with Chaldaea in the legends which were

current in the later periods of Babylonian history. In the fourth and

fifth tablets, or sections, of the great Babylonian epic which describes

the exploits of the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh, a story is told of an

expedition undertaken by Gilgamesh and his friend Ba-bani against an

Elamite despot named Khum-baba. It is related in the poem that Khumbaba

was feared by all who dwelt near him, for his roaring was like the

storm, and any man perished who was rash enough to enter the cedar-wood

in which he dwelt. But Gilgamesh, encouraged by a dream sent him by

Sha-mash, the Sun-god, pressed on with his friend, and, having entered

the wood, succeeded in slaying Khumbaba and in cutting off his head.

This legend is doubtless based on episodes in early Babylonian and

Elamite history. Khumbaba may not have been an actual historical ruler,

but at least he represents or personifies the power of Elam, and the

success of Gilgamesh no doubt reflects the aspirations with which many a

Babylonian expedition set out for the Elamite frontier.

Incidentally it may be noted that the legend possibly had a still closer

historical parallel, for the name of Khumbaba occurs as a component in

a proper name upon one of the Elamite contracts found recently by M. de

Morgan at Mai-Amir. The name in question is written Khumbaba-arad-ili,

"Khumbaba, the servant of God," and it proves that at the date at which

the contract was written (about 1300-1000 B.C.) the name of Khumbaba was

still held in remembrance, possibly as that of an early historical ruler

of the country.

In her struggles with Chaldaea, Elam was not successful during the

earliest historical period of which we have obtained information; and,

so far as we can tell at present, her princes long continued to own

allegiance to the Semitic rulers whose influence was predominant from

time to time in the plains of Lower Mesopotamia. Tradition relates that

two of the earliest Semitic rulers whose names are known to us, Sargon

and Naram-Sin, kings of Agade, held sway in Elam, for in the "Omens"

which were current in a later period concerning them, the former is

credited with the conquest of the whole country, while of the latter it

is related that he conquered Apirak, an Elamite district, and captured

its king. Some doubts were formerly cast upon these traditions inasmuch

as they were found in a text containing omens or forecasts, but these

doubts were removed by the discovery of contemporary documents by which

the later traditions were confirmed. Sargon's conquest of Elam, for

instance, was proved to be historical by a reference to the event in a

date-formula upon tablets belonging to his reign. Moreover, the event

has received further confirmation from an unpublished tablet in the

British Museum, containing a copy of the original chronicle from which

the historical extracts in the "Omens" were derived. The portion of

the composition inscribed upon this tablet does not contain the lines

referring to Sargon's conquest of Elam, for these occurred in an earlier

section of the composition; but the recovery of the tablet puts beyond

a doubt the historical character of the traditions preserved upon the

omen-tablet as a whole, and the conquest of Elam is thus confirmed

by inference. The new text does recount the expedition undertaken by

Naram-Sin, the son of Sargon, against Apirak, and so furnishes a direct

confirmation of this event.

Another early conqueror of Elam, who was probably of Semitic origin,

was Alu-usharshid, king of the city of Kish, for, from a number of his

inscriptions found near those of Sargon at Nippur in Babylonia, we learn

that he subdued Elam and Para'se, the district in which the city of Susa

was probably situated. From a small mace-head preserved in the British

Museum we know of another conquest of Elam by a Semitic ruler of this

early period. The mace-head was made and engraved by the orders of

Mutabil, an early governor of the city of Dur-ilu, to commemorate his

own valour as the man "who smote the head of the hosts" of Elam. Mutabil

was not himself an independent ruler, and his conquest of Elam must have

been undertaken on behalf of the suzerain to whom he owed allegiance,

and thus his victory cannot be classed in the same category as those of

his predecessors. A similar remark applies to the success against

the city of Anshan in Elam, achieved by Grudea, the Sumerian ruler

of Shirpurla, inasmuch as he was a patesi, or viceroy, and not an

independent king. Of greater duration was the influence exercised over

Elam by the kings of Ur, for bricks and contract-tablets have been found

at Susa proving that Dungi, one of the most powerful kings of Ur, and

Bur-Sin, Ine-Sin, and Oamil-Sin, kings of the second dynasty in that

city, all in turn included Elam within the limits of their empire.

Such are the main facts which until recently had been ascertained

with regard to the influence of early Babylonian rulers in Elam. The

information is obtained mainly from Babylonian sources, and until

recently we have been unable to fill in any details of the picture

from the Elamite side. But this inability has now been removed by M.

de Morgan's discoveries. From the inscribed bricks, cones, stelae, and

statues that have been brought to light in the course of his excavations

at Susa, we have recovered the name of a succession of native Elamite

rulers. All those who are to be assigned to this early period, during

which Elam owed allegiance to the kings of Babylonia, ascribe to

themselves the title of patesi, or viceroy, of Susa, in acknowledgment

of their dependence. Their records consist principally of building

inscriptions and foundation memorials, and they commemorate the

construction or repair of temples, the cutting of canals, and the like.

They do not, therefore, throw much light upon the problems connected

with the external history of Elam during this early period, but we

obtain from them a glimpse of the internal administration of the

country. We see a nation without ambition to extend its boundaries, and

content, at any rate for the time, to owe allegiance to foreign rulers,

while the energies of its native princes are devoted exclusively to the

cultivation of the worship of the gods and to the amelioration of the

conditions of the life of the people in their charge.

A difficult but interesting problem presents itself for solution at the

outset of our inquiry into the history of this people as revealed by

their lately recovered inscriptions,--the problem of their race and

origin. Found at Susa in Elam, and inscribed by princes bearing purely

Elamite names, we should expect these votive and memorial texts to be

written entirely in the Elamite language. But such is not the case,

for many of them are written in good Semitic Babylonian. While some

are entirely composed in the tongue which we term Elamite or Anzanite,

others, so far as their language and style is concerned, might have been

written by any early Semitic king ruling in Babylonia. Why did early

princes of Susa make this use of the Babylonian tongue?

At first sight it might seem possible to trace a parallel in the use of

the Babylonian language by kings and officials in Egypt and Syria

during the fifteenth century B.C., as revealed in the letters from

Tell el-Amarna. But a moment's thought will show that the cases are not

similar. The Egyptian or Syrian scribe employed Babylonian as a medium

for his official foreign correspondence because Babylonian at that

period was the lingua franca of the East. But the object of the

early Elamite rulers was totally different. Their inscribed bricks and

memorial stelae were not intended for the eyes of foreigners, but for

those of their own descendants. Built into the structure of a temple,

or buried beneath the edifice, one of their principal objects was to

preserve the name and deeds of the writer from oblivion. Like similar

documents found on the sites of Assyrian and Babylonian cities, they

sometimes include curses upon any impious man, who, on finding the

inscription after the temple shall have fallen into ruins, should in

any way injure the inscription or deface the writer's name. It will be

obvious that the writers of these inscriptions intended that they should

be intelligible to those who might come across them in the future. If,

therefore, they employed the Babylonian as well as the Elamite language,

it is clear that they expected that their future readers might be either

Babylonian or Elamite; and this belief can only be explained on the

supposition that their own subjects were of mixed race.

It is therefore certain that at this early period of Elamite history

Semitic Babylonians and Elamites dwelt side by side in Susa and retained

their separate languages. The problem therefore resolves itself into the

inquiry: which of these two peoples occupied the country first? Were the

Semites at first in sole possession, which was afterwards disputed by

the incursion of Elamite tribes from the north and east? Or were the

Elamites the original inhabitants of the land, into which the Semites

subsequently pressed from Babylonia?

A similar mixture of races is met with in Babylonia itself in the

early period of the history of that country. There the early Sumerian

inhabitants were gradually dispossessed by the invading Semite, who

adopted the civilization of the conquered race, and took over the system

of cuneiform writing, which he modified to suit his own language. In

Babylonia the Semites eventually predominated and the Sumerians as a

race disappeared, but during the process of absorption the two languages

were employed indiscriminately. The kings of the First Babylonian

Dynasty wrote their votive inscriptions sometimes in Sumerian, sometimes

in Semitic Babylonian; at other times they employed both languages

for the same text, writing the record first in Sumerian and afterwards

appending a Semitic translation by the side; and in the legal and

commercial documents of the period the old Sumerian legal forms and

phrases were retained intact. In Elam we may suppose that the use of the

Sumerian and Semitic languages was the same.

It may be surmised, however, that the first Semitic incursions into Elam

took place at a much later period than those into Babylonia, and under

very different conditions. When overrunning the plains and cities of the

Sumerians, the Semites were comparatively uncivilized, and, so far as we

know, without a system of writing of their own. The incursions into

Elam must have taken place under the great Semitic conquerors, such as

Sar-gon and Naram-Sin and Alu-usharshid. At this period they had fully

adopted and modified the Sumerian characters to express their own

Semitic tongue, and on their invasion of Elam they brought their system

of writing with them. The native princes of Elam, whom they conquered,

adopted it in turn for many of their votive texts and inscribed

monuments when they wished to write them in the Babylonian language.

Such is the most probable explanation of the occurrence in Elam of

inscriptions in the Old Babylonian language, written by native princes

concerning purely domestic matters. But a further question now suggests

itself. Assuming that this was the order in which events took place,

are we to suppose that the first Semitic invaders of Elam found there a

native population in a totally undeveloped stage of civilization? Or did

they find a population enjoying a comparatively high state of culture,

different from their own, which they proceeded to modify and transform!

Luckily, we have not to fall back on conjecture for an answer to these

questions, for a recent discovery at Susa has furnished material from

which it is possible to reconstruct in outline the state of culture of

these early Elamites.

This interesting discovery consists of a number of clay tablets

inscribed in the proto-Elamite system of writing, a system which was

probably the only one in use in the country during the period before the

Semitic invasion. The documents in question are small, roughly formed

tablets of clay very similar to those employed in the early periods of

Babylonian history, but the signs and characters impressed upon them

offer the greatest contrast to the Sumerian and early Babylonian

characters with which we are familiar. Although they cannot be fully

deciphered at present, it is probable that they are tablets of accounts,

the signs upon them consisting of lists of figures and what are

probably ideographs for things. Some of the ideographs, such as that for

"tablet," with which many of the texts begin, are very similar to the

Sumerian or Babylonian signs for the same objects; but the majority are

entirely different and have been formed and developed upon a system of

their own.


The photograph is taken from M. de Morgan's Delegation en

Perse, Mem., t. vi, pi. 23.

On these tablets, in fact, we have a new class of cuneiform writing in

an early stage of its development, when the hieroglyphic or pictorial

character of the ideographs was still prominent.


The photograph is reproduced from M. de Morgan's Delegation

en Perse, Mem., t. vi, pi. 22.

Although the meaning of the majority of these ideographs has not yet

been identified, Pere Scheil, who has edited the texts, has succeeded

in making out the system of numeration. He has identified the signs for

unity, 10, 100, and 1,000, and for certain fractions, and the signs for

these figures are quite different from those employed by the Sumerians.

The system, too, is different, for it is a decimal, and not a

sexagesimal, system of numeration.

That in its origin this form of writing had some connection with that

employed and, so far as we know, invented by the ancient Sumerians

is possible.* But it shows small trace of Sumerian influence, and the

disparity in the two systems of numeration is a clear indication that,

at any rate, it broke off and was isolated from the latter at a very

early period. Having once been adopted by the early Elamites, it

continued to be used by them for long periods with but small change or

modification. Employed far from the centre of Sumerian civilization, its

development was slow, and it seems to have remained in its ideographic

state, while the system employed by the Sumerians, and adopted by the

Semitic Babylonians, was developed along syllabic lines.

* It is, of course, also possible that the system of writing

had no connection in its origin with that of the Sumerians,

and was invented independently of the system employed in

Babylonia. In that case, the signs which resemble certain of

the Sumerian characters must have been adopted in a later

stage of its development. Though it would be rash to

dogmatize on the subject, the view that connects its origin

with the Sumerians appears on the whole to fit in best with

the evidence at present available.

It was without doubt this proto-Elamite system of writing which the

Semites from Babylonia found employed in Elam on their first incursions

into that country. They brought with them their own more convenient form

of writing, and, when the country had once been finally subdued, the

subject Elamite princes adopted the foreign system of writing and

language from their conquerors for memorial and monumental inscriptions.

But the ancient native writing was not entirely ousted, and continued

to be employed by the common people of Elam for the ordinary purposes

of daily life. That this was the case at least until the reign of

Karibu-sha-Shu-shinak, one of the early subject native rulers, is clear

from one of his inscriptions engraved upon a block of limestone to

commemorate the dedication of what were probably some temple furnishings

in honour of the god Shu-shinak.


The photograph is taken from M. de Morgan's Delegation en

Perse, Mem., t. vi, pi. 2.

The main part of the inscription is written in Semitic Babylonian,

and below there is an addition to the text written in proto-Elamite

characters, probably enumerating the offerings which the

Karibu-sha-Shushinak decreed should be made for the future in honour

of the god.* In course of time this proto-Elamite system of writing by

means of ideographs seems to have died out, and a modified form of the

Babylonian system was adopted by the Elamites for writing their own

language phonetically. It is in this phonetic character that the

so-called "Anzanite" texts of the later Elamite princes were composed.

*We have assumed that both inscriptions were the work of

Karibu-sha-Shushinak. But it is also possible that the

second one in proto-Elamite characters was added at a later

period. From its position on the stone it is clear that it

was written after and not before Karibu-sha-Shushinak's

inscription in Semitic Babylonian. See the photographic


Karibu-sha-Shushinak, whose recently discovered bilingual inscription

has been referred to above, was one of the earlier of the subject

princes of Elam, and he probably reigned at Susa not later than B.C.

3000. He styles himself "patesi of Susa, governor of the land of Elam,"

but we do not know at present to what contemporary king in Babylonia

he owed allegiance. The longest of his inscriptions that have been

recovered is engraved upon a stele of limestone and records the building

of the Gate of Shushinak at Susa and the cutting of a canal; it also

recounts the offerings which Karibu-sha-Shushinak dedicated on the

completion of the work. It may here be quoted as an example of the

class of votive inscriptions from which the names of these early Elamite

rulers have been recovered. The inscription runs as follows: "For

the god Shushinak, his lord, Karibu-sha-Shushinak, the son of

Shimbi-ish-khuk, patesi of Susa, governor of the land of Elam,--when

he set the (door) of his Gate in place,... in the Gate of the god

Shushinak, his lord, and when he had opened the canal of Sidur, he set

up in face thereof his canopy, and he set planks of cedar-wood for its

gate. A sheep in the interior thereof, and sheep without, he appointed

(for sacrifice) to him each day. On days of festival he caused the

people to sing songs in the Gate of the god Shushinak. And twenty

measures of fine oil he dedicated to make his gate beautiful. Four

magi of silver he dedicated; a censer of silver and gold he dedicated

for a sweet odour; a,sword he dedicated; an axe with four blades

he dedicated, and he dedicated silver in addition for the mounting

thereof.... A righteous judgment he judged in the city! As for the man

who shall transgress his judgment or shall remove his gift, may the

gods Shushinak and Shamash, Bel and Ea, Ninni and Sin, Mnkharsag and

Nati--may all the gods uproot his foundation, and his seed may they


It will be seen that Karibu-sha-Shushinak takes a delight in enumerating

the details of the offerings he has ordained in honour of his city-god

Shushinak, and this religious temper is peculiarly characteristic of the

princes of Elam throughout the whole course of their history. Another

interesting point to notice in the inscription is that, although the

writer invokes Shushinak, his own god, and puts his name at the head

of the list of deities whose vengeance he implores upon the impious, he

also calls upon the gods of the Babylonians. As he wrote the inscription

itself in Babylonian, in the belief that it might be recovered by

some future Semitic inhabitant of his country, so he included in his

imprecations those deities whose names he conceived would be most

reverenced by such a reader. In addition to Karibu-sha-Shushinak the

names of a number of other patesis, or viceroys, have recently

been recovered, such as Khutran-tepti, and Idadu I and his son

Kal-Rukhu-ratir, and his grandson Idadu II. All these probably ruled

after Karibu-sha-Shushinak, and may be set in the early period of

Babylonian supremacy in Elam.

It has been stated above that the allegiance which these early Elamite

princes owed to their overlords in Babylonia was probably reflected in

the titles which they bear upon their inscriptions recently found at

Susa. These titles are "patesi of Susa, shakkannak of Elam," which

may be rendered as "viceroy of Susa, governor of Elam." But inscriptions

have been found on the same site belonging to another series of rulers,

to whom a different title is applied. Instead of referring to themselves

as viceroys of Susa and governors of Elam, they bear the title of

sukkal of Elam, of Siparki, and of Susa. Siparki, or Sipar, was

probably the name of an important section of Elamite territory, and

the title sukkalu, "ruler," probably carries with it an idea of

independence of foreign control which is absent from the title of

patesi. It is therefore legitimate to trace this change of title to

a corresponding change in the political condition of Elam; and there is

much to be said for the view that the rulers of Elam who bore the title

of sukkalu reigned at a period when Elam herself was independent, and

may possibly have exercised a suzerainty over the neighbouring districts

of Babylonia.

The worker of this change in the political condition of Elam and

the author of her independence was a king named Kutir-Nakhkhunte or

Kutir-Na'khunde, whose name and deeds have been preserved in

later Assyrian records, where he is termed Kudur-Nankhundi and

Kudur-Nakhundu.* This ruler, according to the Assyrian king

Ashur-bani-pal, was not content with throwing off the yoke under which

his land had laboured for so long, but carried war into the country of

his suzerain and marched through Babylonia devastating and despoiling

the principal cities. This successful Elamite campaign took place,

according to the computation of the later Assyrian scribes, about the

year 2280 B. c, and it is probable that for many years afterwards the

authority of the King of Elam extended over the plains of Babylonia.

It has been suggested that Kutir-Nakh-khunte, after including Babylonia

within his empire, did not remain permanently in Elam, but may have

resided for a part of each year, at least, in Lower Mesopotamia.

His object, no doubt, would have been to superintend in person the

administration of his empire and to check any growing spirit of

independence among his local governors. He may thus have appointed in

Susa itself a local governor who would carry on the business of the

country during his absence, and, under the king himself, would wield

supreme authority. Such governors may have been the sukkali, who, unlike

the patesi, were independent of foreign control, but yet did not enjoy

the full title of "king."

* For references to the passages where the name occurs, see

King, Letters of Hammurabi, vol. i, p. Ivy.

It is possible that the sukkalu who ruled in Elam during the reign of

Kutir-Nakhkhunte was named Temti-agun, for a short inscription of

this ruler has been recovered, in which he records that he built and

dedicated a certain temple with the object of ensuring the preservation

of the life of Kutir-Na'khundi. If we may identify the Kutir-Va'khundi

of this text with the great Elamite conqueror, Kutir-Nakhkhunte, it

follows that Temti-agun, the sukkal of Susa, was his subordinate. The

inscription mentions other names which are possibly those of rulers of

this period, and reads as follows: "Temti-agun, sukkal of Susa, the son

of the sister of Sirukdu', hath built a temple of bricks at Ishme-karab

for the preservation of the life of Kutir-Na'khundi, and for the

preservation of the life of Lila-irtash, and for the preservation of his

own life, and for the preservation of the life of Temti-khisha-khanesh

and of Pil-kishamma-khashduk." As Lila-irtash is mentioned immediately

after Kutir-Na'khundi, he was possibly his son, and he may have

succeeded him as ruler of the empire of Elam and Babylonia, though no

confirmation of this view has yet been discovered. Temti-khisha-khanesh

is mentioned immediately after the reference to the preservation of the

life of Temti-agun himself, and it may be conjectured that the name was

that of Temti-agun's son, or possibly that of his wife, in which event

the last two personages mentioned in the text may have been the sons of


This short text affords a good example of one class of votive

inscriptions from which it is possible to recover the names of Elamite

rulers of this period, and it illustrates the uncertainty which at

present attaches to the identification of the names themselves and the

order in which they are to be arranged. Such uncertainty necessarily

exists when only a few texts have been recovered, and it will disappear

with the discovery of additional monuments by which the results already

arrived at may be checked. We need not here enumerate all the names of

the later Elamite rulers which have been found in the numerous votive

inscriptions recovered during the recent excavations at Susa. The order

in which they should be arranged is still a matter of considerable

uncertainty, and the facts recorded by them in such inscriptions as we

possess mainly concern the building and restoration of Elamite temples

and the decoration of shrines, and they are thus of no great historical

interest. These votive texts are well illustrated by a remarkable find

of foundation deposits made last year by M. de Morgan in the temple of

Shushinak at Susa, consisting of figures and jewelry of gold and silver,

and objects of lead, bronze, iron, stone, and ivory, cylinder-seals,

mace-heads, vases, etc. This is the richest foundation deposit that has

been recovered on any ancient site, and its archaeological interest in

connection with the development of Elamite art is great. But in no other

way does the find affect our conception of the history of the country,

and we may therefore pass on to a consideration of such recent

discoveries as throw new light upon the course of history in Western


With the advent of the First Dynasty in Babylon Elam found herself

face to face with a power prepared to dispute her claims to exercise a

suzerainty over the plains of Mesopotamia. It is held by many writers

that the First Dynasty of Babylon was of Arab origin, and there is much

to be said for this view. M. Pognon was the first to start the theory

that its kings were not purely Babylonian, but were of either Arab or

Aramaean extraction, and he based his theory on a study of the forms of

the names which some of them bore. The name of Samsu-imna, for instance,

means "the sun is our god," but the form of the words of which the name

is composed betray foreign influence. Thus in Babylonian the name for

"sun" or the Sun-god would be Shamash or Shamshu, not Samsu; in

the second half of the name, while ilu ("god") is good Babylonian, the

ending na, which is the pronominal suffix of the first person plural,

is not Babylonian, but Arabic. We need not here enter into a long

philological discussion, and the instance already cited may suffice to

show in what way many of the names met in the Babylonian inscriptions

of this period betray a foreign, and possibly an Arabic, origin. But

whether we assign the forms of these names to Arabic influence or not,

it may be regarded as certain that, the First Dynasty of Babylon had

its origin in the incursion into Babylonia of a new wave of Semitic



The invading Semites brought with them fresh blood and unexhausted

energy, and, finding many of their own race in scattered cities and

settlements throughout the country, they succeeded in establishing a

purely Semitic dynasty, with its capital at Babylon, and set about the

task of freeing the country from any vestiges of foreign control. Many

centuries earlier Semitic kings had ruled in Babylonian cities, and

Semitic empires had been formed there. Sargon and Naram-Sin,

having their capital at Agade, had established their control over a

considerable area of Western Asia and had held Elam as a province. But

so far as Elam was concerned Kutir-Nakhkhunte had reversed the balance

and had raised Elam to the position of the predominant power.

Of the struggles and campaigns of the earlier kings of the First Dynasty

of Babylon we know little, for, although we possess a considerable

number of legal and commercial documents of the period, we have

recovered no strictly historical inscriptions. Our main source of

information is the dates upon these documents, which are not dated by

the years of the reigning king, but on a system adopted by the early

Babylonian kings from their Sumerian predecessors. In the later periods

of Babylonian history tablets were dated in the year of the king who was

reigning at the time the document was drawn up, but this simple system

had not been adopted at this early period. In place of this we find that

each year was cited by the event of greatest importance which occurred

in that year. This event might be the cutting of a canal, when the year

in which this took place might be referred to as "the year in which

the canal named Ai-khegallu was cut;" or it might be the building of a

temple, as in the date-formula, "the year in which the great temple of

the Moon-god was built;" or it might be "the conquest of a city, such

as the year in which the city of Kish was destroyed." Now it will be

obvious that this system of dating had many disadvantages. An event

might be of great importance for one city, while it might never have

been heard of in another district; thus it sometimes happened that the

same event was not adopted throughout the whole country for designating

a particular year, and the result was that different systems of

dating were employed in different parts of Babylonia. Moreover, when a

particular system had been in use for a considerable time, it required

a very good memory to retain the order and period of the various events

referred to in the date-formulae, so as to fix in a moment the date of a

document by its mention of one of them. In order to assist themselves

in their task of fixing dates in this manner, the scribes of the First

Dynasty of Babylon drew up lists of the titles of the years, arranged

in chronological order under the reigns of the kings to which they

referred. Some of these lists have been recovered, and they are of the

greatest assistance in fixing the chronology, while at the same time

they furnish us with considerable information concerning the history of

the period of which we should otherwise have been in ignorance.

From these lists of date-formulae, and from the dates themselves which

are found upon the legal and commercial tablets of the period, we learn

that Kish, Ka-sallu, and Isin all gave trouble to the earlier kings of

the First Dynasty, and had in turn to be subdued. Elam did not watch the

diminution of her influence in Babylonia without a struggle to retain

it. Under Kudur-mabug, who was prince or governor of the districts lying

along the frontier of Elam, the Elamites struggled hard to maintain

their position in Babylonia, making the city of Ur the centre from which

they sought to check the growing power of Babylon. From bricks that have

been recovered from Mukayyer, the site of the city of Ur, we learn that

Kudur-mabug rebuilt the temple in that city dedicated to the Moon-god,

which is an indication of the firm hold he had obtained upon the city.

It was obvious to the new Semitic dynasty in Babylon that, until Ur and

the neighbouring city of Larsam had been captured, they could entertain

no hope of removing the Elamite yoke from Southern Babylonia. It is

probable that the earlier kings of the dynasty made many attempts to

capture them, with varying success. An echo of one of their struggles in

which they claimed the victory may be seen in the date-formula for the

fourteenth year of the reign of Sin-muballit, Hammurabi's father and

predecessor on the throne of Babylon. This year was referred to in the

documents of the period as "the year in which the people of Ur were

slain with the sword." It will be noted that the capture of the city

is not commemorated, so that we may infer that the slaughter of the

Elamites which is recorded did not materially reduce their influence,

as they were left in possession of their principal stronghold. In fact,

Elam was not signally defeated in the reign of Kudur-mabug, but in that

of his son Rim-Sin. From the date-formulae of Hammurabi's reign we learn

that the struggle between Elam and Babylon was brought to a climax in

the thirtieth year of his reign, when it is recorded in the formulas

that he defeated the Elamite army and overthrew Rim-Sin, while in the

following year we gather that he added the land of E'mutbal, that is,

the western district of Elam, to his dominions.

An unpublished chronicle in the British Museum gives us further details

of Hammurabi's victory over the Elamites, and at the same time makes it

clear that the defeat and overthrow of Rim-Sin was not so crushing

as has hitherto been supposed. This chronicle relates that Hammurabi

attacked Rim-Sin, and, after capturing the cities of Ur and Larsam,

carried their spoil to Babylon. Up to the present it has been supposed

that Hammurabi's victory marked the end of Elamite influence in

Babylonia, and that thenceforward the supremacy of Babylon was

established throughout the whole of the country. But from the

new chronicle we gather that Hammurabi did not succeed in finally

suppressing the attempts of Elam to regain her former position. It is

true that the cities of Ur and Larsam were finally incorporated in the

Babylonian empire, and the letters of Hammurabi to Sin-idinnam, the

governor whom he placed in authority over Larsam, afford abundant

evidence of the stringency of the administrative control which he

established over Southern Babylonia. But Rim-Sin was only crippled for

the time, and, on being driven from Ur and Larsam, he retired beyond

the Elamite frontier and devoted his energies to the recuperation of his

forces against the time when he should feel himself strong enough again

to make a bid for victory in his struggle against the growing power of

Babylon. It is probable that he made no further attempt to renew the

contest during the life of Hammurabi, but after Samsu-iluna, the son

of Hammurabi, had succeeded to the Babylonian throne, he appeared in

Babylonia at the head of the forces he had collected, and attempted to

regain the cities and territory he had lost.

Inscribed in the reign of Hammurabi with a deed recording

the division of property. The actual tablet is on the right;

that which appears to be another and larger tablet on the

left is the hollow clay case in which the tablet on the

right was originally enclosed. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell

& Co.

The portion of the text of the chronicle relating to the war between

Rim-Sin and Samsu-iluna is broken so that it is not possible to follow

the campaign in detail, but it appears that Samsu-iluna defeated

Rim-Sin, and possibly captured him or burnt him alive in a palace in

which he had taken refuge.

With the final defeat of Rim-Sin by Samsu-iluna it is probable that Elam

ceased to be a thorn in the side of the kings of Babylon and that

she made no further attempts to extend her authority beyond her own

frontiers. But no sooner had Samsu-iluna freed his country from all

danger from this quarter than he found himself faced by a new foe,

before whom the dynasty eventually succumbed. This fact we learn from

the unpublished chronicle to which reference has already been made, and

the name of this new foe, as supplied by the chronicle, will render

it necessary to revise all current schemes of Babylonian chronology.

Samsu-iluna's new foe was no other than Iluma-ilu, the first king of the

Second Dynasty, and, so far from having been regarded as Samsu-iluna's

contemporary, hitherto it has been imagined that he ascended the throne

of Babylon one hundred and eighteen years after Samsu-iluna's death.

The new information supplied by the chronicle thus proves two important

facts: first, that the Second Dynasty, instead of immediately succeeding

the First Dynasty, was partly contemporary with it; second, that during

the period in which the two dynasties were contemporary they were at

war with one another, the Second Dynasty gradually encroaching on

the territory of the First Dynasty, until it eventually succeeded in

capturing Babylon and in getting the whole of the country under its

control. We also learn from the new chronicle that this Second Dynasty

at first established itself in "the Country of the Sea," that is to say,

the districts in the extreme south of Babylonia bordering on the Persian

Gulf, and afterwards extended its borders northward until it gradually

absorbed the whole of Babylonia. Before discussing the other facts

supplied by the new chronicle, with regard to the rise and growth of the

Country of the Sea, whose kings formed the so-called "Second Dynasty,"

it will be well to refer briefly to the sources from which the

information on the period to be found in the current histories is


All the schemes of Babylonian chronology that have been suggested during

the last twenty years have been based mainly on the great list of kings

which is preserved in the British Museum. This document was drawn up in

the Neo-Babylonian or Persian period, and when complete it gave a list

of the names of all the Babylonian kings from the First Dynasty of

Babylon down to the time in which it was written. The names of the kings

are arranged in dynasties, and details are given as to the length of

their reigns and the total number of years each dynasty lasted. The

beginning of the list which gave the names of the First Dynasty is

wanting, but the missing portion has been restored from a smaller

document which gives a list of the kings of the First and Second

Dynasties only. In the great list of kings the dynasties are arranged

one after the other, and it was obvious that its compiler imagined that

they succeeded one another in the order in which he arranged them.

But when the total number of years the dynasties lasted is learned, we

obtain dates for the first dynasties in the list which are too early to

agree with other chronological information supplied by the historical

inscriptions. The majority of writers have accepted the figures of the

list of kings and have been content to ignore the discrepancies; others

have sought to reconcile the available data by ingenious emendations of

the figures given by the list and the historical inscriptions, or have

omitted the Second Dynasty entirely from their calculations. The new

chronicle, by showing that the First and Second Dynasties were partly

contemporaneous, explains the discrepancies that have hitherto proved so


It would be out of place here to enter into a detailed discussion of

Babylonian chronology, and therefore we will confine ourselves to a

brief description of the sequence of events as revealed by the new

chronicle. According to the list of kings, Iluma-ilu's reign was a long

one, lasting for sixty years, and the new chronicle gives no indication

as to the period of his reign at which active hostilities with Babylon

broke out. If the war occurred in the latter portion of his reign, it

would follow that he had been for many years organizing the forces of

the new state he had founded in the south of Babylonia before making

serious encroachments in the north; and in that case the incessant

campaigns carried on by Babylon against Blam in the reigns of Hammurabi

and Samsu-iluna would have afforded him the opportunity of establishing

a firm foothold in the Country of the Sea without the risk of Babylonian

interference. If, on the other hand, it was in the earlier part of his

reign that hostilities with Babylon broke out, we may suppose that,

while Samsu-iluna was devoting all his energies to crush Bim-Sin, the

Country of the Sea declared her independence of Babylonian control. In

this case we may imagine Samsu-iluna hurrying south, on the conclusion

of his Elamite campaign, to crush the newly formed state before it had

had time to organize its forces for prolonged resistance.

Whichever of these alternatives eventually may prove to be correct, it

is certain that Samsu-iluna took the initiative in Babylon's struggle

with the Country of the Sea, and that his action was due either to her

declaration of independence or to some daring act of aggression on the

part of this small state which had hitherto appeared too insignificant

to cause Babylon any serious trouble. The new chronicle tells us that

Samsu-iluna undertook two expeditions against the Country of the Sea,

both of which proved unsuccessful. In the first of these he penetrated

to the very shores of the Persian Gulf, where a battle took place in

which Samsu-iluna was defeated, and the bodies of many of the Babylonian

soldiers were washed away by the sea. In the second campaign Iluma-ilu

did not await Samsu-iluna's attack, but advanced to meet him, and again

defeated the Babylonian army. In the reign of Abeshu', Samsu-iluna's

son and successor, Iluma-ilu appears to have undertaken fresh acts of

aggression against Babylon; and it was probably during one of his raids

in Babylonian territory that Abeshu' attempted to crush the growing power

of the Country of the Sea by the capture of its daring leader, Iluma-ilu

himself. The new chronicle informs us that, with this object in

view, Abeshu' dammed the river Tigris, hoping by this means to cut off

Iluma-ilu and his army, but his stratagem did not succeed, and Iluma-ilu

got back to his own territory in safety.

The new chronicle does not supply us with further details of the

struggle between Babylon and the Country of the Sea, but we may conclude

that all similar attempts on the part of the later kings of the First

Dynasty to crush or restrain the power of the new state were useless. It

is probable that from this time forward the kings of the First Dynasty

accepted the independence of the Country of the Sea upon their southern

border as an evil which they were powerless to prevent. They must have

looked back with regret to the good times the country had enjoyed under

the powerful sway of Hammurabi, whose victorious arms even their ancient

foes, the Blamites, had been unable to withstand. But, although the

chronicle does not recount the further successes achieved by the Country

of the Sea, it records a fact which undoubtedly contributed to hasten

the fall of Babylon and bring the First Dynasty to an end. It tells us

that in the reign of Samsu-ditana, the last king of the First Dynasty,

the men of the land of Khattu (the Hittites from Northern Syria) marched

against him in order to conquer the land of Akkad; in other words, they

marched down the Euphrates and invaded Northern Babylonia. The chronicle

does not state how far the invasion was successful, but the appearance

of a new enemy from the northwest must have divided the Babylonian

forces and thus have reduced their power of resisting pressure from the

Country of the Sea. Samsu-ditana may have succeeded in defeating the

Hittites and in driving them from his country; but the fact that he

was the last king of the First Dynasty proves that in his reign Babylon

itself fell into the hands of the king of the Country of the Sea.

The question now arises, To what race did the people of the Country

of the Sea belong? Did they represent an advance-guard of the Kassite

tribes, who eventually succeeded in establishing themselves as the Third

Dynasty in Babylon? Or were they the Elamites who, when driven from Ur

and Larsam, retreated southwards and maintained their independence on

the shores of the Persian Gulf? Or did they represent some fresh wave of

Semitic immigration'? That they were not Kassites is proved by the new

chronicle which relates how the Country of the Sea was conquered by the

Kassites, and how the dynasty founded by Iluma-ilu thus came to an end.

There is nothing to show that they were Elamites, and if the Country of

the Sea had been colonized by fresh Semitic tribes, so far from opposing

their kindred in Babylon, most probably they would have proved to them

a source of additional strength and support. In fact, there are

indications that the people of the Country of the Sea are to be referred

to an older stock than the Elamites, the Semites, or the Kassites. In

the dynasty of the Country of the Sea there is no doubt that we may

trace the last successful struggle of the ancient Sumerians to retain

possession of the land which they had held for so many centuries before

the invading Semites had disputed its possession with them.

Evidence of the Sumerian origin of the kings of the Country of the

Sea may be traced in the names which several of them bear. Ishkibal,

Grulkishar, Peshgal-daramash, A-dara-kalama, Akur-ul-ana, and

Melam-kur-kura, the names of some of them, are all good Sumerian names,

and Shushshi, the brother of Ishkibal, may also be taken as a Sumerian

name. It is true that the first three kings of the dynasty, Iluma-ilu,

Itti-ili-nibi, and Damki-ilishu, and the last king of the dynasty,

Ea-gamil, bear Semitic Babylonian names, but there is evidence that

at least one of these is merely a Semitic rendering of a Sumerian

equivalent. Iluma-ilu, the founder of the dynasty, has left inscriptions

in which his name is written in its correct Sumerian form as

Dingir-a-an, and the fact that he and some of his successors either bore

Semitic names or appear in the late list of kings with their Sumerian

names translated into Babylonian form may be easily explained by

supposing that the population of the Country of the Sea was mixed and

that the Sumerian and Semitic tongues were to a great extent employed

indiscriminately. This supposition is not inconsistent with the

suggestion that the dynasty of the Country of the Sea was Sumerian, and

that under it the Sumerians once more became the predominant race in


The new chronicle also relates how the dynasty of the Country of the

Sea succumbed in its turn before the incursions of the Kassites. We know

that already under the First Dynasty the Kassite tribes had begun to

make incursions into Babylonia, for the ninth year of Samsu-iluna was

named in the date-formulae after a Kassite invasion, which, as it

was commemorated in this manner by the Babylonians, was probably

successfully repulsed. Such invasions must have taken place from time to

time during the period of supremacy attained by the Country of the Sea,

and it was undoubtedly with a view to stopping such incursions--for the

future that Ea-gamil--the last king of the Second Dynasty, decided to

invade Elam and conquer the mountainous districts in which the Kassite

tribes had built their strongholds. This Elamite campaign of Ea-gamil

is recorded by the new chronicle, which relates how he was defeated and

driven from the country by Ulam-Buriash, the brother of Bitiliash the

Kassite. Ulam-Buriash did not rest content with repelling Ea-gamil's

invasion of his land, but pursued him across the border and succeeded

in conquering the Country of the Sea and in establishing there his own

administration. The gradual conquest of the whole of Babylonia by the

Kassites no doubt followed the conquest of the Country of the Sea,

for the chronicle relates how the process of subjugation, begun by

Ulam-Buriash, was continued by his nephew Agum, and we know from the

lists of kings that Ea-gamil was the last king of the dynasty founded by

Iluma-ilu. In this fashion the Second Dynasty was brought to an end, and

the Sumerian element in the mixed population of Babylonia did not again

succeed in gaining control of the government of the country.

It will be noticed that the account of the earliest Kassite rulers of

Babylonia which is given by the new chronicle does not exactly tally

with the names of the kings of the Third Dynasty as found upon the

list of kings. On this document the first king of the dynasty is named

Gandash, with whom we may probably identify Ulam-Buriash, the Kassite

conqueror of the Country of the Sea; the second king is Agum, and the

third is Bitiliashi. According to the new chronicle Agum was the son

of Bitiliashi, and it would be improbable that he should have ruled in

Babylonia before his father. But this difficulty is removed by supposing

that the two names were transposed by some copyist. The different

names assigned to the founder of the Kassite dynasty may be due to

the existence of variant traditions, or Ulam-Buriash may have assumed

another name on his conquest of Babylonia, a practice which was usual

with the later kings of Assyria when they occupied the Babylonian


The information supplied by the new chronicle with regard to the

relations of the first three dynasties to one another is of the greatest

possible interest to the student of early Babylonian history. We see

that the Semitic empire founded at Babylon by Sumu-abu, and consolidated

by Hammurabi, was not established on so firm a basis as has hitherto

been believed. The later kings of the dynasty, after Elam had been

conquered, had to defend their empire from encroachments on the south,

and they eventually succumbed before the onslaught of the Sumerian

element, which still remained in the population of Babylonia and had

rallied in the Country of the Sea. This dynasty in its turn succumbed

before the invasion of the Kassites from the mountains in the western

districts of Elam, and, although the city of Babylon retained her

position as the capital of the country throughout these changes of

government, she was the capital of rulers of different races, who

successively fought for and obtained the control of the fertile plains

of Mesopotamia.

It is probable that the Kassite kings of the Third Dynasty exercised

authority not only over Babylonia but also over the greater part of

Elam, for a number of inscriptions of Kassite kings of Babylonia have

been found by M. de Morgan at Susa. These inscriptions consist of

grants of land written on roughly shaped stone stelae, a class which the

Babylonians themselves called kudurru, while they have been frequently

referred to by modern writers as "boundary-stones." This latter term

is not very happily chosen, for it suggests that the actual monuments

themselves were set up on the limits of a field or estate to mark its

boundary. It is true that the inscription on a kudurru enumerates the

exact position and size of the estate with which it is concerned,

but the kudurru was never actually used to mark the boundary. It was

preserved as a title-deed, in the house of the owner of the estate or

possibly in the temple of his god, and formed his charter or title-deed

to which he could appeal in case of any dispute arising as to his right

of ownership. One of the kudurrus found by M. de Morgan records the

grant of a number of estates near Babylon by Nazimaruttash, a king of

the Third or Kassite Dynasty, to the god Marduk, that is to say they

were assigned by the king to the service of E-sagila, the great temple

of Marduk at Babylon.

Inscribed with a text of Nazimaruttash, a king of the Third

or Kassite Dynasty, conferring certain estates near Babylon

on the temple of Marduk and on a certain man named Kashakti-

Shugab. The photograph is reproduced from M. de Morgan's

Delegation en Perse, Mem., t. ii, pi, 18.

All the crops and produce from the land were granted for the supply of

the temple, which was to enjoy the property without the payment of any

tax or tribute. The text also records the gift of considerable tracts of

land in the same district to a private individual named Kashakti-Shugab,

who was to enjoy a similar freedom from taxation so far as the lands

bestowed upon him were concerned.

This freedom from taxation is specially enacted by the document in

the words: "Whensoever in the days that are to come the ruler of the

country, or one of the governors, or directors, or wardens of these

districts, shall make any claim with regard to these estates, or shall

attempt to impose the payment of a tithe or tax upon them, may all the

great gods whose names are commemorated, or whose arms are portrayed, or

whose dwelling-places are represented, on this stone, curse him with an

evil curse and blot out his name!"

Incidentally, this curse illustrates one of the most striking

characteristics of the kudurrus, or "boundary-stones," viz. the carved

figures of gods and representations of their emblems, which all of them

bare in addition to the texts inscribed upon them. At one time it was

thought that these symbols were to be connected with the signs of the

zodiac and various constellations and stars, and it was suggested that

they might have been intended to represent the relative positions of the

heavenly bodies at the time the document was drawn up. But this text

of Nazimaruttash and other similar documents that have recently been

discovered prove that the presence of the figures and emblems of the

gods upon the stones is to be explained on another and far more simple

theory. They were placed there as guardians of the property to which the

kudurru referred, and it was believed that the carving of their figures

or emblems upon the stone would ensure their intervention in case of

any attempted infringement of the rights and privileges which it was

the object of the document to commemorate and preserve. A photographic

reproduction of one side of the kudurru of Nazi-maruttash is shown in

the accompanying illustration. There will be seen a representation of

Gula or Bau, the mother of the gods, who is portrayed as seated on

her throne and wearing the four-horned head-dress and a long robe

that reaches to her feet. In the field are emblems of the Sun-god, the

Moon-god, Ishtar, and other deities, and the representation of divine

emblems and dwelling-places is continued on another face of the stone

round the corner towards which Grula is looking. The other two faces of

the document are taken up with the inscription.

An interesting note is appended to the text inscribed upon the stone,

beginning under the throne and feet of Marduk and continuing under the

emblems of the gods upon the other side. This note relates the history

of the document in the following words: "In those days Kashakti-Shugab,

the son of Nusku-na'id, inscribed (this document) upon a memorial

of clay, and he set it before his god. But in the reign of

Marduk-aplu-iddina, king of hosts, the son of Melishikhu, King

of Babylon, the wall fell upon this memorial and crushed it.

Shu-khuli-Shugab, the son of Nibishiku, wrote a copy of the ancient

text upon a new stone stele, and he set it (before the god)." It will be

seen, therefore, that this actual stone that has been recovered was not

the document drawn up in the reign of Nazimaruttash, but a copy made

under Marduk-aplu-iddina, a later king of the Third Dynasty. The

original deed was drawn up to preserve the rights of Kashakti-Shugab,

who shared the grant of land with the temple of Marduk. His share was

less than half that of the temple, but, as both were situated in the

same district, he was careful to enumerate and describe the temple's

share, to prevent any encroachment on his rights by the Babylonian


It is probable that such grants of land were made to private individuals

in return for special services which they had rendered to the king. Thus

a broken kudurru among M. de Morgan's finds records the confirmation of

a man's claims to certain property by Biti-liash II, the claims being

based on a grant made to the man's ancestor by Kurigalzu for services

rendered to the king during his war with Assyria. One of the finest

specimens of this class of charters or title-deeds has been found at

Susa, dating from the reign of Melishikhu, a king of the Third Dynasty.

The document in question records a grant of certain property in the

district of Bit-Pir-Shadu-rabu, near the cities Agade and Dur-Kurigalzu,

made by Melishikhu to Marduk-aplu-iddina, his son, who succeeded him

upon the throne of Babylon. The text first gives details with regard to

the size and situation of the estates included in the grant of land, and

it states the names of the high officials who were entrusted with the

duty of measuring them. The remainder of the text defines and secures

the privileges granted to Marduk-aplu-iddina together with the land,

and, as it throws considerable light upon the system of land tenure at

the period, an extract from it may here be translated:

"To prevent the encroachment on his land," the inscription runs, "thus

hath he (i.e. the king) established his (Marduk-aplu-iddina's) charter.

On his land taxes and tithes shall they not impose; ditches, limits, and

boundaries shall they not displace; there shall be no plots, stratagems,

or claims (with regard to his possession); for forced labour or public

work for the prevention of floods, for the maintenance and repair of

the royal canal under the protection of the towns of Bit-Sikkamidu

and Damik-Adad, among the gangs levied in the towns of the district of

Nina-Agade, they shall not call out the people of his estate; they are

not liable to forced labour on the sluices of the royal canal, nor

are they liable for building dams, nor for closing the canal, nor for

digging out the bed thereof."

Inscribed with a text of Melishikhu, one of the kings of the

Third or Kassite Dynasty of Babylon, recording a grant of

certain property to Marduk-aplu-iddina, his son The

photograph is reproduced from M. de Morgan's Delegation en

Perse, Mem., t. ii, pi. 24.

"A cultivator of his lands, whether hired or belonging to the estate,

and the men who receive his instructions (i.e. his overseers) shall no

governor of Bit-Pir-Shadu-rabu cause to leave his lands, whether by the

order of the king, or by the order of the governor, or by the order of

whosoever may be at Bit-Pir-Shadu-rabu. On wood, grass, straw, corn,

and every other sort of crop, on his carts and yoke, on his ass and

man-servant, shall they make no levy. During the scarcity of water in

the canal running between the Bati-Anzanim canal and the canal of the

royal district, on the waters of his ditch for irrigation shall they

make no levy; from the ditch of his reservoir shall they not draw water,

neither shall they divert (his water for) irrigation, and other land

shall they not irrigate nor water therewith. The grass of his lands

shall they not mow; the beasts belonging to the king or to a governor,

which may be assigned to the district of Bit-Pir-Shadu-rabu, shall they

not drive within his boundary, nor shall they pasture them on his grass.

He shall not be forced to build a road or a bridge, whether for the

king, or for the governor who may be appointed in the district of

Bit-Pir-Shadu-rabu, neither shall he be liable for any new form of

forced labour, which in the days that are to come a king, or a governor

appointed in the district of Bit-Pir-Shadu-rabu, shall institute and

exact, nor for forced labour long fallen into disuse which may be

revived anew. To prevent encroachment on his land the king hath fixed

the privileges of his domain, and that which appertaineth unto it, and

all that he hath granted unto him; and in the presence of Shamash, and

Marduk, and Anunitu, and the great gods of heaven and earth, he hath

inscribed them upon a stone, and he hath left it as an everlasting

memorial with regard to his estate."

The whole of the text is too long to quote, and it will suffice to note

here that Melishikhu proceeds to appeal to future kings to respect the

land and privileges which he has granted to his son, Marduk-aplu-iddina,

even as he himself has respected similar grants made by his predecessors

on the throne; and the text ends with some very vivid curses against

any one, whatever his station, who should make any encroachments on the

privileges granted to Marduk-aplu-iddina, or should alter or do any harm

to the memorial-stone itself. The emblems of the gods whom Melishikhu

invokes to avenge any infringement of his grant are sculptured upon one

side of the stone, for, as has already been remarked, it was believed

that by carving them upon the memorial-stone their help in guarding the

stone itself and its enactments was assured.

From the portion of the text inscribed upon the stone which has just

been translated it is seen that the owner of land in Babylonia in the

period of the Kassite kings, unless he was granted special exemption,

was liable to furnish forced labour for public works to the state or to

his district, to furnish grazing and pasture for the flocks and herds of

the king or governor, and to pay various taxes and tithes on his land,

his water for irrigation, and his crops. From the numerous documents

of the First Dynasty of Babylon that have been recovered and published

within the last few years we know that similar customs were prevalent at

that period, so that it is clear that the successive conquests to which

the country was subjected, and the establishment of different dynasties

of foreign kings at Babylon, did not to any appreciable extent affect

the life and customs of the inhabitants of the country or even the

general character of its government and administration. Some documents

of a commercial and legal nature, inscribed upon clay tablets during the

reigns of the Kassite kings of Babylon, have been found at Nippur,

but they have not yet been published, and the information we possess

concerning the life of the people in this period is obtained indirectly

from kudurrus or boundary-stones, such as those of Nazimaruttash and

Melishikhu which have been already described. Of documents relating to

the life of the people under the rule of the kings of the Country of the

Sea we have none, and, with the exception of the unpublished chronicle

which has been described earlier in this chapter, our information for

this period is confined to one or two short votive inscriptions. But the

case is very different with regard to the reigns of the Semitic kings of

the First Dynasty of Babylon. Thousands of tablets relating to legal and

commercial transactions during this period have been recovered, and more

recently a most valuable series of royal letters, written by Hammurabi

and other kings of his dynasty, has been brought to light.


The stele is inscribed with his great code of laws. The Sun-

god is represented as seated on a throne in the form of a

temple facade, and his feet are resting upon the mountains.

Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

Moreover, the recently discovered code of laws drawn up by Hammurabi

contains information of the greatest interest with regard to the

conditions of life that were prevalent in Babylonia at that period.

From these three sources it is possible to dr